As a very brief background, most authorities date the inception of affirmative action to 1965, when President Lyndon signed Executive Order 11246 (Tomasson, Crosby and Herzberger, 2001). I agree with the article in the sense that the affirmative action policy do not serve the purpose that it was originally intended to serve. Affirmative action has developed to be a divisive policy and one that seeks to replace old-fashion racism and sexism with new reverse-racism and reverse-sexism.
Granted, the policy was justified for a time, when the Civil Rights movement exposed the depth of racism in America, but the program has been in place for decades and sends a message to minority groups that they cannot, and never will, compete with majority groups on equal terms, which is bad for the former’s self-esteem and self-confidence. Equally damaging is the message they send to others, that the minority groups’ success is not really due to ability, determination and hard work but due to ‘preferential treatment’.
To emphasize the fairness of the policy is not to say that all organizations match in practice what is articulated in principle. When organizations fall short of putting fairness into play, adjustments need to be made. But these adjustments need not alter the basic and fundamental policy which we call classical affirmative action. On the contrary, adjustments are simply part of the process. The tasks involved in successful affirmative action would not be easy. It means effort, much more effort than it takes simply to find people to fill positions.
But the rewards are many, like when a company adopts affirmative action goals and procedures properly, not only do previously excluded workers gain from having access to jobs; the organization gains from finding ways to have access to fresh talent. Affirmative action policy, if used in its truest sense and not just for the sake of saying that affirmative action was applied in one’s institution, can bring about the original results that were desired for the minority groups who wants their tiny voices to be heard, and is a good and necessary part of the struggle to diminish discrimination.